Help a Relative With Their Legal Status

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By: Bill Henry
PublishedAug 3, 2022
2 minute read

Do you have a family member who wants to immigrate to the U.S. or who is already here and wishes to become a lawful permanent resident? In this short article and accompanying video, we will discuss how you can help a relative with their legal status.

Let’s Talk About How You Can Sponsor a Loved One

The immigration attorneys at Robinson & Henry understand that your family is one of the most important aspects of your life. Begin a immigration case assessment when you call 303-688-0944.

How to Help a Relative With Their Legal Status

Robinson & Henry’s Immigration Team gets asked these two questions a lot:

How do I help a family member if they want to come to the United States? And if they’re in the United States, how do I help them change their status to a lawful permanent resident?

You can help your relative with their legal status by becoming their sponsor. Let’s take a quick look at what sponsoring a relative requires of you.

How to Sponsor a Relative

The first step is to find out if you can be a sponsor. You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident. Sponsors are required to be at least 18 years old, and they also have to meet the financial support guidelines. The U.S. government wants to make sure that the sponsor can financially help out their relative. So the sponsor’s income must be 125 percent of the federal poverty guidelines or better.

It’s important to note that the government limits which relatives are eligible for sponsorship. Your own status determines which relatives you can sponsor to come live in the United States.

If you meet the requirements, you’ll sponsor your family member through an application called an affidavit of support. It’s a contract that you’ll sign, and it comes with serious responsibilities.

What are My Responsibilities if I Help a Relative with Their Legal Status?

Provide Financial Support

Oftentimes, the sponsor is called upon to not only sign the contract but, on occasion, to actually financially support the immigrant during the process before they become a citizen. Essentially, you’ll need to be able to support them as they work toward becoming a lawful permanent resident all the way up to their becoming a U.S. citizen.

You will be signing on to help your relative for about 10 years. So this is a significant responsibility that one should not enter into without careful consideration.

When You May be Asked to Provide Financial Support

If you have signed on to help your relative with their legal status and your relative is allowed to legally work here, then, generally, you won’t be called on to financially support them. But there are times when they may need extra help.

Illness or Injury

If your loved one gets sick or injured, they may need to lean on you while they recover, especially if they cannot work. Your relative may also need your help paying their medical bills.


When your relative first moves to the U.S., they will probably need help with housing. That assistance could come in the form of allowing them to live with you for a time. You may help them get an apartment by providing them with the money for a deposit.

These are just a couple of scenarios to consider. Other ways you may have to temporarily help your loved one as they get settled in the U.S. is paying for their utilities, food, and transportation.

Talk to Our Immigration Attorneys About Sponsorship

The process to sponsor a relative may seem simple, but it isn’t. There are numerous forms to fill out and documents to submit. Paperwork mistakes can set your relative back months or years. If you want to help a relative with their legal status, give them the best chance of success by allowing an immigration attorney to navigate this process for you. Call 303-688-0944 to begin your case assessment, o lláme al 720-359-2442 para hablar con alguien en español.

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